Bill would allow heavy trucks on interstates

| August 01, 2011

U.S. Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) introduced The Commercial Truck Safety Act, legislation intended to ease interstate commerce and enhance safety on highways and secondary roads.

The bill would eliminate what Snowe identifies as inequitable government regulation permitting six-axle trucks weighing up to 100,000 pounds to travel on some states’ interstate highways and not others.

“When it comes to trucks on our Interstates, the Department of Transportation has created an inequitable system where some states, including Maine, must seek individual exemptions from year to year while 27 states benefit from permanent exemptions,” said Snowe, a senior member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, which has jurisdiction over truck safety.

Presently, trucks weighing more than 80,000 pounds in the remaining 23 states must either unload cargo or travel to their destination on winding secondary roads through small towns.

During a recent pilot program allowing six-axle trucks up to 100,000 pounds on Maine’s interstates, there were 14 fewer crashes compared to the previous year and no fatalities involving six-axle trucks.

The Commercial Truck Safety Act would end the need for states to seek individual weight limit exemptions from Congress by granting states like Maine the authority to petition the Secretary of Transportation for a permanent waiver. The legislation would authorize the Secretary to institute a three-year pilot program waiving the weight limit and requiring the creation of a safety committee. The committee, composed of engineers, safety advocates, and highway users, would report to the Secretary at the end of the pilot program to determine whether the exemption should become permanent.

“This inequity is not only a matter of safety in our communities, but critical to the vitality of commerce, jobs and industry throughout our state,” said Snowe.


  • PHILIP GAMBUTI

    ON THE STORY ABOUT INCREASED WEIGHT , I BELIEVE THAT ALL TRUCKS SHOULD BE ABLE TO USE NUMBER OF AXLES TO DETERMINE THERE GROSS WEIGHT.

  • PHILIP ISON

    THEY WILL NOT DO IT IT IS TO BIG A MONEY MAKER FOR THE STATES.

    THEY DONOT CARE ABOUT HELPING THE ECONOMY JUST TRYINGTO FIND A WAY TO INCREASE THEIR REVENUES.

    THEY WILL COME UP WITH A NEW TAX SO THEY CAN SELL YOU A PERMIT TO GO FROM 80 TO 100. THISIS THE PROBLEM WITH A GOVERNMENT THAT HAS STARTED TO RUN AMUCK OVER IT CITIZENS

  • John Deere

    In regard to increased weight of trucks, the question is — where will it end? Allowable gross weights have been increasing ever since the inception of the trucking industry. It’s a losing proposition for drivers because increased gross weight along with increased size put more stress and strain on the driver, yet pay does not increase proportionally.